SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW
Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
September 14- 20, 2009
At least 24 Maoists and six CoBRA personnel, including two assistant commandants, killed in Chhattisgarh: A combined team of the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) and the Chhattisgarh Police killed at least 24 Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) in the Dantewada District on September 18. An assistant commandant of CoBRA, Manoranjan Singh, was also killed in the attack. 10 dead bodies of the Maoists have been recovered so far, the report said. While four SF personnel sustained injuries, five others were said to be missing and a combing operation was launched to search for them. The CoBRA recovered the bodies of five of its missing personnel on September 19. Bastar region Inspector General of Police T.J. Longkumer on September 18 said, "It is difficult to give the exact figure. But the casualties among Maoists are much higher than we initially believed." Police sources in Chhattisgarh claimed that nearly 200 armed Naxalites have been surrounded and combined Police forces are fast approaching a key Naxal hideout in the area.
According to the report, the SF personnel raided a Maoist camp located at Palachalam, 600 kilometres south of State capital Raipur, under Kisteram Police station area. Additional Director General of Police Girdhari Nayak said that the SF personnel surrounded the area from all corners and then attacked the camp. The extremists retaliated and a gun battle ensued. Nayak added that the SF personnel destroyed an arms factory being run at the hideout. The assault was taken up on September 16 when the State Police and the CoBRA units moved into the forests on actionable inputs about a weapon-making unit set up by the Maoists near Botatang, a village north-east of Karigundam.
This was CoBRA’s, the elite anti-Naxal (left wing extremist) wing of the Central Reserve Police Force, maiden operation in Chhattisgarh and it involved some 600 personnel, so far the biggest movement of forces in any operation against the Naxalites in the State. Denying that the operation was a part of the Union Government’s larger plan of launching a massive anti-Naxalite operation across States, the Inspector General of Police (headquarters), R.K. Vij, said, "It was part of the State’s ongoing offensive against insurgency." Telegraph India; The Hindu; Times of India; Hindustan Times, September 19-20, 2009.
Second batch of 180 Black Widow militants surrender in Assam: The second batch of 180 Black Widow (BW) militants surrendered arms on September 14, taking the total number of surrendered cadres to 373, 15 more than the Security Forces (SFs) had expected. A Police source said the militants set out from Dihangi, about 30 kilometres from Haflong, escorted by a few senior Police officials to Sontilla, the headquarters of the Assam Police (5th Battalion), where they deposited their arms. The weapons surrendered are yet to be counted but it is a "significant number", the source said. The extremists will now be shifted to their designated camp in Kapurtalla near Harangajao in the North Cachar Hills District. As reported earlier, the first batch of 193 militants who surrendered their arms on September 13, are living in a camp in Jatinga village, about 10 kilometres from Haflong.
Four camps have been set up at various locations to house the militants during the peace talks. Among those who stepped into Sontilla are frontline leaders Mindao Dimasa and Prakash Dimasa. With the duo’s arrival, all field-level leaders of the outfit have joined the peace process. The outfit’s ‘chief’, Jewel Gorlosa, and its ‘deputy commander-in-chief’ Partha Warisa, are now in judicial custody after being arrested from Bangalore on June 3, 2009. Niranjan Hojai, the ‘commander-in-chief’, has agreed to be present at the formal surrender ceremony of Jewel Gorlosa followers, expected to be held on September 24, 2009, in the presence of Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi at Haflong. Hojai (38), a resident of Adra village under Deogbra Police outpost in Maibong subdivision, in his pre-guerrilla days was a Grade IV employee in the State’s public health engineering department. He figured as a key negotiator in the furtive dialogues between Assam Police officials and BW militants in the month of August. Telegraph India, September 15, 2009.
Fight against left wing extremism failing, admits Prime Minister Manmohan Singh: Addressing the three-day annual conference of the Directors-General and Inspectors-General of Police on the second day of the three-day event in New Delhi on September 15, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh admitted that the Government had "not achieved much success" in containing left wing extremism. He stated, "I have consistently held that left wing extremism is, perhaps, the gravest internal security threat we face. We have not achieved as much success as we would have liked in containing it. It is a matter of concern that despite our efforts, the level of violence in the affected states continues to rise." "As I have stated before, dealing with left wing extremism requires a nuanced strategy - it cannot be treated simply as a law and order problem. Despite its sanguinary nature, the movement manages to retain the support of a section of the tribals and the poorest of the poor in many areas. It has influence among sizeable sections of civil society, the intelligentsia and the youth. It still retains a certain elan. All this adds to the complexity of the problem. I expect you to keep this in mind as you devise newer and better strategies to deal with the problem," the PM added.
The Prime Minister sounding a note of caution against certain "worrisome developments", having an impact on internal security, said that infiltration from across the Line of Control along the Pakistan border and also via Nepal, Bangladesh and the sea was going up. "Encounters with armed militants have become more frequent in recent weeks and months. Secessionist and militant groups within the state are again attempting to make common cause with outside elements and have embarked on a series of protest movements", Manmohan Singh said. "We also need to understand better why many more local youth are being inveigled into participating in terrorist activities and how they are being recruited, indoctrinated and trained. The factors that cause social disharmony and alienation should be clearly known so that we can work to eliminate them," the Prime Minister added. The Hindu; Times of India, September 16, 2009.
Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed still active, says Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram: Expressing concern over cross-border terrorism, the Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, on September 14, cautioned that terrorist groups, including the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), were persisting in their attempts to launch terror attacks against India with the support they found among disgruntled elements within India. "They [LeT and JeM] continue to innovate new ways and means of deniability. Cells and modules within India lend an Indian character to these activities. Through community policing and other innovative measures we must detect and deny any opportunity to our adversaries. Intelligence is the key. We were able to bust 12 terrorist modules in 2008 and, in the first half of the current year, we have been able to neutralise 13 modules," Chidambaram said while delivering the inaugural address at the three-day annual conference of the Directors-General and Inspectors-General of Police on the second day of the three-day event at New Delhi. He said that there were attempts from across the border to forge unity among separatists in Jammu and Kashmir and escalate violence.
Talking about Naxalism (left wing extremism) the Home Minister said that the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) is forging ties with insurgents in the northeast and is also lending support to their (north east insurgents) secessionist demands.
The Home Minister said that Left Wing Extremism purports to be a radical form of communism and today, various groups adhering to this outdated ideology have their pockets of influence in 20 States across the country. "Over 2,000 Police Station areas in 223 Districts in these States are partially or substantially affected by the menace," he added. Chidambaram said violence, the most visible aspect of Naxal menace, has been consistently witnessed in about 200 Police station areas of around 90 Districts in 13 States of these States. "Last year, a total of 1,591 incidents of Naxalite violence resulting in 721 killings were reported from 299 Police station areas of 87 Districts of 13 States," the Home Minister said adding this year 1,405 incidents of Naxal violence resulting in 580 killings have already been reported (upto August 27) from 355 Police stations in 78 districts in 11 states. He said the CPI-Maoist has also improved upon its military wares and operational tactics. Besides targeting the Police, alleged Police informers and so-called class enemies, it is laying greater emphasis on attacking economic and development infrastructure such as roads, bridges, railways, power and telecommunication networks, he said. "With increasing sophistication in fabrication and deployment of Improvised Explosive Devices, it has inflicted more casualties on the Security Forces," he added. As many as 80 Security Force (SF) personnel were killed in 53 landmine-based attacks by the CPI-Maoists in 2008, 123 SF personnel have lost their lives so far in 61 landmine-based Maoist actions this year. Altogether, 231 SF personnel were killed in Naxal violence in 2008 while 250 SF personnel have lost their lives this year, he added.
Chidambaram spoke about his goals in internal security and policing over the next five years. He spelt out the priority areas in the next five years – a modern Police act, mega city policing, upgradation of forensic science laboratory and prison reforms. He described the November 26, 2008, Mumbai terrorist attacks (also known as 26/11) as a "game changer," saying "we can no longer afford to do business as usual." "Let me state our position clearly. On terrorism, our stance is zero tolerance. We shall raise our level of preparedness to fight any terror attack and, in the case of threat or attack, our response will be swift and decisive," he said, adding that Policing in India was always a challenge and after 26/11, it became graver. He pointed out that the large scale diversion of development funds to militants gives them easy access to critical resources which helps them recruit new cadres as well as procure arms. "This conference should dwell on finding workable ways and means to curb illegal diversion of funds to the militants," Chidambaram urged.
Meanwhile, the Government, on September 16, informed a Parliamentary panel that the Left Wing Extremists are calling the shots in 40,000 square kilometres area in Naxal affected States where the Government has no control. Home secretary G. K. Pillai told the first meeting of Parliament's Standing Committee on Home Affairs that the Naxal problem is growing rapidly and needed urgent action. At the three-hour meeting the panel, headed by main opposition Bharatiya Janta Party leader M. Venkaiah Naidu, was briefed by the ministry officials about the overall internal security situation with particular focus on the Naxal menace. Telegraph India; The Hindu; Times of India; Indian Express; PTI News, September 15-17, 2009.
45 militants and 38 civilians among 84 persons killed during the week in NWFP: During continued operation in the Swat District, troops killed eight Taliban militants on September 20. Separately, a Taliban leader Sher Muhammad Qasab died in captivity from wounds sustained during a gun battle on September 16. Qasab, an active member of the Tehreek Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM), and who had joined Swat Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah, had a head money of PKR 10 million.
Separately, five persons were killed and as many injured as unidentified assailants on September 20 opened fire in Pat Bazaar, where people were assessing damages to the shops blown up by a September 18 bomb blast.
Five persons were killed when Taliban militants opened fire on a on a pick-up van near Jerona village in the Malakand area of Swat District on September 19. In addition, two persons were killed in a bomb blast at a Security checkpoint in the Darra Adam Khel area.
At least 30 people were killed and more than 50 injured in a suicide attack in the in the Kacha Pakka area, 17 kilometres from Kohat city in the Kohat District on September 18, hospital and Police sources said. At least 13 shops were also destroyed, and shockwaves were felt as far as a kilometre away, witnesses said. It is suspected the attack was carried out using an explosives-laden car, said senior Police officials. The bomb was believed to have contained about 150 kilograms of explosives. Locals put the death toll at around 40. Shopkeepers said most of the victims were Shias and coalminers waiting for buses. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) claimed responsibility for the bombing, saying it was carried out to avenge the killing of one of their leaders. "We carried out the attack to avenge the killing of Muhammad Amin," said Usman Haider, claiming to be a spokesman for the outfit. Subsequently, unidentified militants opened fire at the funeral procession in Kohat, killing four people. According to the report, the assailants opened fire during the funeral of a person killed in suicide bombing in the Kacha Pakka area.
In addition, Hangu District Nazim (Mayor) Haji Khan Afzal was killed and three others injured in a bomb attack at a mosque in the Wajh area of Hangu. According to the channel, Afzal was entering the mosque when a remote-controlled improvised explosive device exploded.
Troops killed 10 Taliban militants, including a local Taliban ‘commander’, in a pre-dawn exchange of fire near a river at Swat on September 17. The Taliban militants were trying to cross a river at night and infiltrate Mingora when Police and troops intercepted them, said the military in a statement from Swat. Residents who identified the slain militants said they included an important local Taliban ‘commander’, identified as Amjad Ali.
A top Taliban ‘commander’, identified as Sher Muhammad Qasab, who was wanted for slaughtering the Security Forces (SFs), was arrested and three of his sons killed by troops in the ongoing counter-insurgency operation at Chaharbagh of Swat District on September 16. Qasab’s arrest followed earlier arrest of Muslim Khan and Mehmood Khan, two of his associates and close aides of Swat Taliban ‘chief’ Maulana Fazlullah. Qasab "was running a slaughter centre at Chaharbagh where he himself used to slaughter opponents and security personnel."
Also, three Taliban militants were killed and 18 others arrested in the ongoing military offensive at Swat and Malakand. The SFs conducted a search operation in Mangaltan, killing three Taliban militants.
At least 27 Taliban militants were killed in clashes with the SFs in the Malakand area on September 14, said official sources. The sources said that about 15 Taliban militants were killed in clashes in Charbagh. The dead bodies of four Taliban militants were also found from Charbagh, said officials. The sources said that Taliban fleeing Batkhela clashed with troops in Derai Jolgraham. At least eight Taliban militants were reportedly killed in that clash. A trooper was also killed in the fighting.
A Taliban militant was killed by the SFs during another search operation in Dir area. Daily Times, September 15-21, 2009.
30 militants among 36 persons killed during the week in FATA: A civilian, identified as Hashim Ali, and a militant were killed during crossfire between the Security Forces (SFs) and Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) militants in the Sur Dhand area of Bara at Khyber Agency on September 19.
The SFs shelled militant hideouts the in Khyber and Orakzai agencies, killing at least 13 militants on September 18. SFs also destroyed four vehicles and two militants’ hideouts during an operation in the Dabori and Sandapal areas of Orakzai Agency,
Two Taliban militants were killed and one injured in clashes with the SFs in the Charmang area of Nawagai tehsil in the Bajaur Agency on September 17. The sources said two SFs were also injured in the clashes, which ensued after a Taliban attack on a security post in Charmang.
Pakistani officials said an al Qaeda operations ‘chief’ in Pakistan and an Uzbek commander were believed to be killed in the US missile strikes in North Waziristan in early September 2009. The operations ‘chief’ was identified as Ilyas Kashmiri and the Uzbek as Nazimuddin alias Yahyo.
At least five Taliban militants were killed and four others wounded in air strikes on hideouts at Bajaur Agency, which also destroyed an illegal FM radio station and bunkers, said official sources on September 15. The strikes were carried out in Darra, Chinar and Jirga areas, the source said. Helicopter gun ships and long-range artillery were used in the offensive that targeted underground Taliban facilities, said the officials. "The death toll may go up, as underground Taliban facilities were heavily bombed," they said.
Eight militants and a solider were killed during fighting in the Kamarkhel area of Bara tehsil in the Khyber Agency on September 14, said security officials. The SFs cleared the area after intense fighting in Naraikarawal village, where militants were holed up in a house. The militants and soldier were killed in a gun battle, said the officials. A militant ‘commander’ was also killed in the gun battle.
In addition, a US drone fired a missile targeting a car in the Mir Ali tehsil of the North Waziristan Agency on September 14, killing four persons and injuring one. The missile hit the car around 5am (PST) when it was passing through Khushali Turikhel village – 30 kilometres east of the Agency headquarters Miranshah. According to unconfirmed report, there were two foreign nationals among the dead.
Troops destroyed six Taliban hideouts in the Charmag area of Nawagai tehsil and confiscated a huge cache of arms. The Security Forces also pounded Taliban hideouts in the Matak and Kamangarah areas of the same Nawagai tehsil.
Separately, militants killed an Afghan national at Dattakhel tehsil in the same North Waziristan Agency on charges of "spying" for the US.
A Taliban militant was killed and two others injured in a military offensive at Bajaur. The sources said the Taliban militant was killed in fighting that followed an attack on a security post in the Loyesam area. Daily Times, September 15-21, 2009.
LTTE proposed Provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam will function as an organization of Tamil Diaspora, says US based LTTE leader: The New York, United Sates (US), based Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader Vishuanadan Rudrakumaran has announced that the LTTE proposed Provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (PTGTE) will function as an organization of the Tamil Diaspora. Vishuanadan Rudrakumaran has made this announcement in www.puthinam.com. The PTGTE will continue to lobby with Governments for the establishment of separate State in the North and East, the Website said.
In the United States, United Kingdom and Canada where there are large communities of Sri Lankan Tamils and where the LTTE as well as some of its front organizations is banned as a terrorist organization, the PTGTE will function as a front of the old LTTE carrying on activities aimed at separatism in Sri Lanka.
The PTGTE is a new front introduced after the killing of Velupillai Prabhakaran, by Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP, before he was arrested on August 6. There was no unanimity regarding the acceptance of the leadership of KP and another leader called Nadevan in Norway was challenging him. But the vast amount of LTTE wealth was in the KP’s hands. At the time the PTGTE was proposed there was no assurance that the LTTE remnant would give up violence completely and accept 'democracy. Though democracy was claimed, there had never been a framework or a constitution for any LTTE democracy to function. The PTGTE is a ploy by the LTTE to carry on its usual activities of extortion among the Tamil Diaspora and move forward with all its illegal businesses and use the money for the bifurcation of Sri Lanka. Daily News, September 19, 2009.